It's been a couple of weeks since my last post but we have still been playing out the campaign in the meantime. Our battle at Markendorf finished prematurely when even Nick, normally the most optimistic of commanders realised that he had no hope of success. Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred Nick was forced to sacrifice his cavalry in order to allow his two infantry divisions to escape. Only three squadrons survived to rejoin their comrades from the original twelve. The surviving force withdrew to Osnabruck while Dom's Saxphalians having marched hard to reach the battlefield allowed their cavalry to carry out the pursuit and took the opportunity to rest the infantry.
Hanenburg heavy cavalry advance from the outskirts of Meissen.
It does appear that the idea of this being a campaign is gradually beginning to sink in. Both Dom and Nick have been guilty of being a little cavalier in their decision making so far but are both now acting with more caution as the lessons of previous defeats are being learnt. This has lead to a period of relative quiet in the western sector of the campaign area which is probably a good thing as fighting has now flared up in the east.
Hanenburg Heavies overpower their opposite numbers.
Hanenburg troops crossed the border into Saxphalia from Luckau and Grossraschen early in the campaign and were surprised to find little or no enemy resistance. They quickly secured Elsterwerda and Reisa and then advanced to cross the Elbe east of Meissen. Erics' small garrison at Meissen withdrew in the face of superior numbers and it was duly occupied by the Hanenburgers. The reason for the lack of opposition was that Erics' initial deployment had been spread out from Erfurt to Dresden in an attempt to cover a larger frontage. However this meant that it took much longer to concentrate in strength leading to the necessity of surrendering ground to gain time.
Troops from the Saxphalian "Polish Legion" move into position.
Inevitably Eric felt it necessary to make a show of strength and having collected a viable force together he advanced two infantry divisions supported by a brigade of cavalry towards Meissen. Neil decided to defend the position and took the field with a similar force of two infantry divisions and a brigade of cavalry, however Neils' divisions are somewhat smaller than Erics' so the advantage lay with the Saxphalians. Things went well at first for the attacking Saxphalians, and Neil was clearly worried by the threat posed to his left flank by sixteen battalions of infantry. He of course wasn't to know that this was mostly made up of militia troops and that all of them were suffering from fatigue having only arrived on the battlefield in the early hours of the morning. Nevertheless Dom pushed on in his usual aggressive manner and began to gain the upper hand.
Hanenburg infantry counter-attack in the centre.
It all went badly wrong for Eric in the centre when he attempted to get three cavalry squadrons into position to charge one of Neils' foot batteries. The first squadron was forced back by artillery fire as it deployed and the remaining two were decimated by cannister fire as they charged. Unfortunately Eric had committed the cardinal error of deploying his infantry too close to the charging cavalry and they were pinned by the routing horsemen. This fell perfectly for Neils' heavy cavalry which had been advancing to counter Erics' cavalry but now found itself with the tantalising target of unformed infantry. The ensuing charge and breakthrough of the infantry alongside Neils' uncanny ability to rally on the spot set in motion a whole chain of small disasters for Erics' hard pressed troops resulting in a complete collapse of the Saxphalian centre. As this happened Neils' flank attack which had been marching off table arrived on the board and though it wasn't in a position to immediately affect any of the fighting it was enough to decide Eric against continuing the fight. Orders were sent to Dom to break off his attack and the Saxphalians began to edge off the table.
So another game finishes in short time but with big implications for the campaign. Erics' troops won't get away unmolested and as the Hanenburgers have an overwhelming cavalry advantage with which to carry out the pursuit, the retreat will doubtless be bloody.
Neil is away for a couple of weeks so we may take a break from the campaign for a little while this week, either way I'll report it all here in due time.